Travis Snider has been back in the major leagues for a little over a month now. Needless to say, he’s still on the learning curve. Over the last 30 days Snider is reaching base 32.7% of the time and has a .407 slugging percentage. He’s just shy of performing like a big league hitter, minus one aspect. In this ~100 at-bat sample, he’s striking out nearly 47% of the time.
Snider’s 65.6% contact rate over that timeframe is surprisingly not the lowest in baseball (Mark Reynolds, Brad Hawpe, and Jason Bay are blocking him from that dubious honor) but he is in the bottom five. Snider showcased similar issues with contact in a much smaller sample last season and has always possessed a tendency to whiff a decent amount. Baseball America highlighted this as a major concern in their pre-season scouting report of Snider:
Because lefthanders threw him a steady diet of offspeed pitches—even in hitter’s counts—Snider struggled versus southpaws in the high minors, hitting a mere .233/.295/.310 in a limited sample of 116 Double-A and Triple-A at-bats. Showing a more patient approach could help him overcome this shortcoming, as he showed a tendency toward free swinging as he moved up the ladder. It’s not a long-term concern if he refines his approach to the point where he’s confident hitting with two strikes.
His power potential is yet to show up in the majors either. A .175 ISO is nothing to write home about, but a .326 ISO posted during his 200 plate appearance stint in Triple-A this season is. Nobody expects him to hit for that much power on a consistent basis, just a little bit more above league average would be a nice starting point.
Snider is only 21-years-old so there’s plenty of time for him to mature. In the meanwhile, opposing pitchers are going to pad their strikeout totals against him.
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